Bourges, Councils of

Bourges, Councils Of (Concilium Bituricense). Of these there were several.

I. Held in November, 1031, under Aymo de Bourbon, archbishop of Bourges. Twenty-five canons were published, the first of which orders the name of St. Martial to be placed among those of the apostles. The third forbids bishops or their secretaries to take any money on account of ordination. The seventh orders all ecclesiastics to observe the tonsure, and to be shaved. The twelfth forbids the exacting of any fee for baptism, penance, or burial, but permits the voluntary offerings of the faithful upon these occasions to be accepted. See Labbe, Concil. 9, 864.

II. Held Nov. 30, 1225, by the legate, the cardinal of St. Angelo, assisted by about one hundred French bishops. Here Raymond, count of Toulouse, and his opponent, Amauri de Montfort (who claimed to be count of Toulouse), pleaded their cause, without, however, any decision being arrived at. The pope's demand of two prebends in each abbey and cathedral church, and one prebend in every other conventual church, throughout France, was rejected. See Labbe, Concil. 11:291.

III. Held Sept. 13, 1276, by Simon de Brie, cardinal and legate. Sixteen articles were published, tending chiefly to the maintenance of the jurisdiction and immunities of the Church, and the freedom of elections. Among other things, the laity were forbidden to make use of violence or threats, in order to obtain the removal of censures. Secular judges were forbidden to constrain ecclesiastics to appear before them, etc. The canons were sent by the cardinal to every one of the French bishops. See Labbe, Concil. 11, 1017.

IV. Held on Sept. 19, 1286, by Simon de Beaulieu, archbishop of Bourges, assisted by three of his suffragans. Here a constitution, consisting of thirty-five articles, was published, reiterating and enforcing those of the preceding councils. Among other things, it was ordered that the ecclesiastical judges should annul all unlawful marriages, and separate the parties, whoever they might be; that every beneficed person who should continue for one year under excommunication, should be deprived of his benefice; that curates should keep a list of all the excommunicated persons in their parishes, and publicly denounce them every Sunday and festival; that they should warn their people to confess at least once in every year; that bows and all kinds of arms should be removed from churches; that all Sundays and festivals be properly kept; etc. Other canons relate to the regulars. See Labbe, Concil. 11, 1246.

V. Held in 1528 by Frangois de Tournon, archbishop of Bourges, with his suffragans. Twenty-three decrees were made, of which the first five relate to the Lutherans, and the rest to matters of discipline. Curates are exhorted to instruct their parishioners, and, in order to give more time for that purpose, they are directed to abridge the prayers made at sermon time. Provincial councils are directed to be held every three years, according to the decree of the council of Constance. Bishops are ordered to visit their dioceses annually, in order that they may take due care of the sheep intrusted to them. The regulations of the council of Constance and of the pragmatic sanction, concerning the residence of canons and other ministers, are confirmed; also that which directs that the psalms he chanted slowly, and with proper pauses. Curates are directed to explain to the people the commandments of God, the Gospel, and something out of the epistle for the day. Pastors are enjoined to forbid penitents to reveal the nature of their penance, and themselves to observe secrecy, both as to what is revealed to them at confession, and also as to the penance they have imposed. No confraternity is to be erected without the consent of the ordinary. It was further enacted that the bishops should have a discretionary power to re-trench the number of festival days according as they should think best; that bishops should not grant letters dimissory without having first examined the candidate for orders and found him qualified; and then to those only who have a benefice or a patrimonial title; further, that nuns shall not leave their monastery. Afterwards the council made various decrees concerning the jurisdiction and liberty of the clergy: the first is upon the subject of monitions; the second upon the residence of curates, that no dispensation for non-residence be granted without a full investigation of the reasons; the third respects cemeteries, which it orders kept enclosed and locked up. After this, four tenths for two years were voted to king Francis I, to make up the ransom of his two sons, then hostages at Madrid, to be levied on all the clergy, secular and regular. See Labbe, Concil. 14, 426.

VI. This council was held in September, 1584. Fortysix chapters were published, each containing several canons (preceded by the confession of faith made by those present). 1. Relates to the worship and service of God; 2 and 3, of the faith and preaching; 4, of the abuse of Holy Scriptures, and orders that the Latin version of the Scriptures shall alone be used, and that bishops' secretaries shall keep a list of prohibited books, which shall be shown annually to publishers; 5. of avoiding heretics; 6, of invocation of saints and of festivals; 7, of pilgrimages; 10 and 11, of relics and images; 12, of the celebration of the holy office, etc.; 16, of cemeteries; 17, of tradition; 18-28, of the sacraments; 31, of excommunication; 34, of canons and chapters; 35, of parish rectors, orders them to reside in their cure, and to say mass themselves; orders bishops to divide parishes which become too populous; where there is no parsonage-house, it directs the bishop to take care to provide one, at the expense of the parishioners; 36, of benefices; 40, of witchcraft and incantations; 41 and 42, of simony, concubinary priests, etc.; 43, of hospitals; 45, of the laity, forbids them to sit with the clerks at Church; bids them to abstain from dances, plays, etc.; also from the use of frizzled hair; 46, of synods. See Labbe, Concil. 15 1067.

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